Reading is one habit that reared my mind since I was a kid. While a lot of the kids at school were playing around me, I would normally sit down in a corner and read a book that is usually way ahead of my age. I went through the usual stuff, though – Dr. Seuss, Hardy Boys, Roald Dahl….even Nancy Drew! At the age of 11, I started reading Agatha Christie, which is why I got so fond of characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. When I turned 12, I was introduced to and got hooked with Stephen King and his lenghty plots and quirky characters. Thereafter, my taste in books started evolving to a coterie of different authors and book genres. I must admit that getting an overload of horror/suspense novels rendered me prematurely ripe and jaded with scary stories so even before I end up avoiding them altogether, I switched to political dramas and juicy autobiographies.
But enough of my origins as a reader. What interests me right now is the advent of technology in this particular aspect of life. The days of hard-bound books, paperback novels and the like have literally started its countdown to a possible long-term extinction. And why not? The arrival of new gadgets like kindle or iPad is setting some sort of a worldwide trend in transforming your daily reading exercises (or leisures if you will) into something that won’t require carrying around these published works in your hand (or inside your bag) and even allowing you to fill in the unit with more than a dozen literature that can set fire to a string of deep reading moments instead of the traditional mode of taking them in one at a time and then waiting for or buying or renting the next book to read.
I read with gusto the article of Josh Quittner in Fortune Magazine entitled “The Future of Reading”. He actually posed a number of interesting questions about the tablet. Let me share a few with you:
Question 1: Will anyone be willing to pay for content delivered to a tablet when they get information for free on the web?
Any voracious reader is likely to say “no” to this question, but the author counters by pointing out that if the tablet is indeed a great device, you will simply want to up its usefulness with media. My take? There will always be people who will find the convenience irresistable. Sure, old media will always hold a soft spot in the heart, but not when everyone around is already jumping in on the upgrades. Besides, free information on the web won’t always be the stuff someone is looking for, or not 100% complete at the very least.
But aren’t tablets just a better way to browse the web?
Yup, tablets can be looked at as just cool web browsers. But if the thing can likewise provide for deep reading experiences, then that would be one angle many individuals will definitely give in to. In the end, if you can surf the net and thereafter do some real reading (without the need for wi-fi or broadband), I see no reason why the tablet won’t take off big time.
Question 3: Reading? Reading is dead.
Despite technological advancements, reading will never see its demise. In fact, the entry of the tablet will facilitate the habit. Some of the enhancements may be perceived as invented for the lazy, but at the end of the day, a good read will always be a good read. It may lull you to deep slumber one night, but you will definitely go back to the power of written words in the next.
Reading will never be dead! It just became more convenient, albeit pricier. 😉